Since 1994, Habitat for Humanity, The Heart of Wyoming has constructed 40 homes in Natrona County.
Currently, six homes have been completed and three homes are under construction at Harris Crossing, the affiliate's first subdivision in Natrona County.
Our partner families and their dreams of homeownership are at
the center of our mission. Their
story is our story.
What does your dream home look like?
“Ours. The home has good curb appeal
and is very enjoyable."
- Habitat Homeowner,
A year-and-a half ago, Michael Simoneaux visited the Habitat for Humanity office for the first time to submit a homeownership application for him and his daughter, Carter.
“I was nervous,” Michael said. “I was very excited too. I could see my future in front of me.”
Though his first application was denied, Michael did not forget about Habitat for Humanity and what a home would mean for his family.
“Having that gap in between was good because I thought about what I wanted,” he said. “I thought about my daughter and what she needs. I thought about a house for her.”
Michael, 21, currently lives with three-year-old Carter in a dated mobile home, with a water-stained ceiling, poor insulation and plastic sheeting covering the windows to protect from the elements outside. But still, Michael, as a carpenter apprentice with Prairie Wing Builders, said he is grateful for his shelter.
“The trailer I grew up in with my mom was horrible,” he said. “But that’s not what I want for my daughter. That’s why when I heard about Habitat, it was perfect.”
His mother was the one who first told him about Habitat for Humanity. But his daughter is his inspiration to live a different life.
When he applied a second time, Michael remained nervous, but equally motivated to do whatever was needed. He now had ambitious financial and professional goals.
Michael was thrilled to be accepted into the homeownership program, as was his mother and his
“Now, everyone sees the future in front of me,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason.”
It’s been quite a journey from the 14-year-old Michael who spent summers riding his bike and installing drywall. Even though he works in construction, Michael said he is eager to learn more, especially on a house that will one day be his.
I have built a lot of things for other people,” he said, but he sees those things from a distance. His
Habitat home will be a daily reminder to himself and his daughter that he built their house.
“She won’t remember, but it’s going to feel good for me,” he said. “It will be less stressful and more comfortable.”
Throughout this experience, Michael feels like the universe is speaking to him in the form of a Habitat home.
“I have learned there are people who care,” he said. “I had never even heard of Habitat for Humanity before, and it blew me away.”
Chelsea Thomas had been looking for a home for her and her daughter Lillian for two years. Every home in her price range was a foreclosed property that needed extensive repairs. With limited options, Chelsea began to explore other opportunities, including Habitat for Humanity.
Chelsea, 28, works at Hilltop Bank as a loan processor. She said without a doubt it is the best job she has ever had.
“I love going to work every day,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a place that is more community and family oriented.”
Her co-workers at the bank knew of her struggles with difficult neighbors, landlords not providing timely maintenance and her inability to find a safe, affordable home.
Chelsea and Lilly, 5, once waited a week for a functioning refrigerator. Her kitchen was full of coolers and ice with food in them, but still much food went to waste. Similarly, she had problems with the plumbing that have never been fixed. These are only a few of the many obstacles Chelsea faced daily to provide for her family.
It was the same coworkers who knew her challenges that encouraged Chelsea to apply for Habitat for Humanity’s Homeownership Program. Their familiarity with organization helped answered many of her questions before she ever submitted her application.
Part of a close family, Chelsea explained she relied on her grandparents heavily growing up. To this day, Chelsea and Lilly spend a lot of time with her grandparents, playing board games on the weekends and going camping in the summer.
“They have done so much for me,” she said. “I would not be the person I am without them.”
Upon learning Chelsea has been accepted into Habitat’s program, her grandparents were beyond excited.
“They knew this would be good for me. It would be something that would move us forward,” she said. That’s exactly how Chelsea sees it.
“Having a child, you need someplace you can go right into and not be worried about any health issues,” she explained. “I am ready to take on my responsibility and see this as a new milestone in my life."
While she’s never built anything, Chelsea is not afraid of the work required. As a previous employee in a home improvement store, Chelsea knows what she learns on the construction site will help her once she’s a homeowner.
“If something breaks, I will know how to fix it because I know how it was built,” she said.